It is important to seek legal advice in relation to property division as early as possible, as the arrangements that you make early in separation will impact on your future position.
Before agreeing to anything, it is important to understand the law and your potential entitlements.
The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) provides four key steps in relation to the division of property after separation:
- Identifying the assets and debts of the parties;
- Identifying the financial and non-financial contributions of the parties;
- Identifying the future needs of the parties; and
- Determining a just and equitable division of property in consideration of the asset pool, the contributions and the future needs of the parties.
Your assets and debts may include any real estate, business interests, investments and superannuation, as well as any debt, such as mortgages, personal loans and credit cards.
Your contributions may include any assets and debts that you brought to the relationship, your income, any inheritances, improvement works such as renovations on the family home and your contributions as a homemaker or parent.
Your future needs refer to a variety of considerations including your age, health, income and whether you have any children or other persons in your care.
The Family Law Rules 2004 (Cth) require that all parties provide full and frank disclosure, so if you were not involved with financial matters during the relationship or do not know what assets your former partner owns, this is not a barrier to negotiating a fair settlement. BJT Legal will ensure that all necessary disclosure is provided by your former partner if necessary.
If you can negotiate an agreement, it is advisable that any agreement be formalised by way of Consent Orders as these are legally enforceable.
If you are unable to reach agreement and require Court orders in relation to property, you can consider applying to the Court. If you were married, you must apply for financial orders within 1 year of a Divorce or you may require the Court's permission to apply. If you were in a de facto relationship, you must apply for financial orders within 2 years of separation or you may require the Court's permission to apply.
If possible, BJT Legal will provide you with an assessment of your likely entitlements at your first consulation, so that you are aware of your negotiating position from the outset. BJT Legal has Business Law and Property Law departments which can provide additional support in complex matters. BJT Legal also maintains close working relationships with local and national accountants, valuers and barristers for assistance where necessary.
If you require advice in relation to your property division, please contact BJT Legal on (03) 5333 8840 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that this is general information only and is not intended as legal advice.